I'm so glad this decade is over. When you look back at it, there's nothing great to remember. First, there was the "election" of George W. Bush which absolutely polarized the country. Everyone hated each other, during the 2000 election, it seemed like there was just some nerd who claimed he invented the internet, and then another guy you may have wanted to have a beer with. It wasn't really a question of who you liked more, it was really about who you hated less. The majority of the people weren't all that passionate about one candidate or the other, and no matter who won, Gore or W, neither would have had any true mandate to get any of their policy objectives accomplished. Then came September 11th 2001.
As in past crises, American's ran straight to the flag, and W's popularity soared. The election was left behind, it didn't matter anymore. Recently, and to my great enjoyment, there have been many people who have been making fun of Glenn Beck. One skit that has had many people laughing was his coalition for 9/10, where Beck wants everyone to feel the way they did before that awful day in September. But what I remember most about that time is actually the day after. Having grown up in New York City, I have always had to explain to people who are not accustomed to a big city that I knew everyone on my block. NYC is made up of small communities, and on 9/12, they were extremely important to getting things back on track. Schools were canceled and people were outside. My family and I went to Central Park where we saw a ton of people out with their dogs talking, exercising, reading, and yes the park is always crowded on nice days (which this was) but this time there was a bigger reason for it.
You had to be with someone. You couldn't be alone because the only way to get through what happened the day before was to be together. Karl Rove's strategy of there being two ideologues in American politics might be true, but where he and the Bush administration fell short wasn't the two wars, or the spending, it was leadership. We'll never know if Al Gore would have been a better President, but President Bush lost a great opportunity to bring people together. No one likes politics (trust me, I know) but the reason President Obama won this year wasn't because the majority of the people were absolutely in love with him. It was because of what he represented. While George W. Bush let September 11th define his Presidency, he should have defined September 11th. I'm 23 now, and when Barak Obama ran for President, he wanted to bring America together. That's why he won. Change was not just a slogan. It was a word that represented the ideals of why people came together on 9/12. Even during this financial crisis and what has been dubbed the great recession, everyone (Republicans and Democrats) looked to their government to do something.
I'm glad this decade is over because it means there is a chance Americans can feel exuberant again. And maybe this time even humble. Personally, I'm confident the economy will turn around next year, and hopefully there will be many people (including me) who can find a job. But as we go forward, it's important we do not forget how we felt on 9/12/2001, because that is the true America. Hopefully even Glenn Beck can remember that.